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Larry Neild on death by £100m cuts

Black day on Dale St, but Tory shires barely affected

Published on December 16th 2010.

Larry Neild on death by £100m cuts

LIVERPOOL already has more deprived areas than anywhere else in the country, so this weeks savage cuts in grants to the city council will deliver a body blow that will impact on every household.

Tony Mulhearn, one of the Militant leaders of the 1980s wants Liverpool and other cities to vote for illegal budgets.

Will our libraries close? Will our swimming pools sink without trace? What about meals on wheels, services for the elderly and disabled, youth services? It is not looking good. Managers are leaving in droves, half of them announced yesterday, as the screw turns even tighter.

Yet to hear Eric Pickles make his pronouncements in the Commons you would wonder what all the fuss is about.

Read the fine print and you realise Pickles is Ebenezer Scrooge masquerading as Father Christmas. Charles Dickens would have a field day if he was able to escape Victorian Britain for 21st century Liverpool.

Number crunchers in Dale Street are still busy with their calculators, but early signs are the city council will be robbed of around £100m over two years, a cut of over 16 per cent. Leader Joe Anderson is already nursing a massive deficit of over £100m he inherited in May.

No Miracle on Dale Street is going to get out of this.

Compare Liverpool’s cut with wealthy Conservative Buckinghamshire where the council has been told to brace itself for a cut of 0.6%, that’s just over half of one per cent. I bet they’re wetting themselves in Dorset where the cut is just 0.2%.

Yet listening to Pickles, the worse-off councils (Liverpool) are to be protected.

Really? Then why are we being bled till the pips squeak.

“Today will go down as a very bleak day for Liverpool,” says leader Joe Anderson.“As a result, many roads will go unrepaired, potholes unfixed and streets unswept. Youth clubs will close and libraries will shut.

“Cameron’s claims of fairness and ‘we’re all in it together’ ring hollow in Liverpool tonight.”

Knowsley also comes out off this with a bloody nose, the second highest loser around here followed by St Helens. Sefton and Wirral will also suffer higher cuts than the average 4.2% Pickles spoke about.

Is it any wonder there is already talk of the biggest ever demonstrations for a generation, protests likely to make the student demos of recent weeks look like a royal tea party.

And the Coalition seems to have already formed a War Cabinet to prepare. Ian Paisley junior gave the closest hint when he revealed the Met had been in touch with the cops in Northern Ireland to see if they can bag a couple of water cannons.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was most elusive when quizzed about the prospect. I took her vague answer to be a yes, they are on the way.

Tony Mulhearn, one of the Militant leaders of the 1980s wants Liverpool and other cities to vote for illegal budgets.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the setting of that illegal budget leading to 47 Labour councillors being banished from office for five years. The Government would not be shaken by a repeat performance – it would give them the excuse to send in commissioners to run the place – their way.

The cuts in local spending have to be taken alongside the Government measures which will lead to massive job losses in the public sector, as well as spending cuts affecting the NHS, also likely to lead to job cuts.

It makes you wonder what is the purpose of having local councils, if there is less for them to do and even less money. They no longer manage council houses, schools are increasingly going for self-rule and care is shared with the NHS.

As well as being told we’ll have to hold out our flat caps if we want extra dosh (and the answer’s no), we’re also going to have forced upon us an elected mayor, though initially we may even skip the “elected” bit.

The mayor will become the fall guy for falling or non-existent local services. Happy Christmas Mister Pickles.

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DigDecember 14th 2010.

I read earlier Dorset are not getting a cut but actually a 0.25% gain. On another note I do like the sound of voting for illegal budgies. I imagine the council chambers will sound like an aviary full of illegal budgies when Joe and the gang are discussing the cuts.

London RoadDecember 14th 2010.

Tony Mulhearn. Gotta love that guy

DigDecember 14th 2010.

Joe even looks like my my grandads budgie when it's feathers fell out.

AnonymousDecember 15th 2010.

This is the biggest attack on local services we have ever seen. The Cons insist they are in favour of giving teeth to the concept of local decision making, then they send in their own dentists to remove the teeth. They are clever though, the cuts will take a year to filter through and then by a drip-drip process and before our very eyes we will lose everything. We need to leep our eyes wide open!

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